A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Holiday Mashed Sweet Potatoes

The annual Thanksgiving lunch at work was today. I brought sweet potatoes. Most sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving tables are really gross -- either chunks boiled in sugar syrup, or a casserole dish covered with colored marshmallows. I wanted to make a compromise dish, one that people would eat but that I would also eat, so I added a pecan topping to my usual recipe.

This is a plain roasted sweet potato, not the recipe described below.

The key, as always, was baking the heck out of the sweet potatoes, which I think brings out their natural sweetness way better than boiling or steaming them. Here is the recipe as I wrote it in an email to a coworker who wanted the recipe.

Bake 5 or 6 whole sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 1 to 2 hours, until the skins collapse slightly and the potatoes are soft. Let cool until you can handle them and remove the peels. Mash with a potato ricer. Add and mix thoroughly:

1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon lemon or orange zest

All of the above are approximate -- taste and keep adding as needed. Sometimes I add a few tablespoonsful of bourbon, but I didn't today.

The mixture should be really fluffy, almost soufflelike. Spoon into baking dish and sprinkle with chopped pecans. You can sprinkle on some brown sugar if you like. Toast under broiler for just a minute -- those pecans will burn SO FAST, as I was reminded this morning when I had to scrape off a layer of blackened pecans and start over again. Twice. I had to throw away a lot of bitter, charred pecans, and I was sad.


Kris said...

I totally agree about long-baked sweet potatoes. Although I fashionably roast them--cubed, in olive oil--baking is the best.

I was having some trouble planning my sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving, but now the way is clear. And topped with chopped pecans, hopefully not charred.

Kris said...

I made this dish yesterday--wanted to eat the whole thing then and there. I'm planning to reheat it in the microwave slightly, then brown in the oven.

Eva said...

Yum. I hope I get my sweet potato fix today...Lawson's cousin is bringing a sweet potato souffle, which could either be really awesome or really terrible.